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tv   CBS Evening News With Katie Couric  CBS  July 22, 2010 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT

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weeks. some cleanup boats were sent back to port today. the large oil recovery ships may follow. tropical storm bonnie is north of cuba right now, and over the next few days it's projected to pass through the florida keys and then into the gulf. even so, federal officials said today they will keep the cap on that ruptured well. and the white house said the president, who's been urging americans to visit the gulf's still-open beaches, will take the first family to the gulf coast of florida next month for a weekend vacation. kelly cobiella is in port fourchon, louisiana, tonight. kelly, needless to say, everyone is watching that weather map very closely tonight. >> reporter: yes. even in here, katie, is in watch-and-wait mode tonight. later, a decision will be made on whether to move more than 60 ships from this spill site to get out of the way of the storm. just when b.p. was on the verge of plugging its runaway well a mile undersea for good, nature pressed the pause button. ships drilling relief wells are
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preparing to leave instead and plans to plug the well from above will have to wait until the storm threat passes. this floating city would shut down. the one consolation? the well will remain unwatched with the valves closed and no new oil flowing into the gulf. >> we have determined if we have to evacuate the site we are prepared to leave the well capped. >> reporter: that's because the cap has been in place for a week with pressure rising and cameras on remotely operated vehicles-- unmanned submarines-- have spotted no major leaks or signs it's unstable. this is one of the r.o.v. use kwrauzed to watch and work on the well. this one is in for maintenance. it's connected to the ship. it's controlled in this room and feeds in images. these are the last to leave and the first to return to the spill site. even so, the well could go unwatched for days. >> this is all b.p. control. >> reporter: b.p. executive doug settles says engineers may have some data on the well, but not until after the storm is gone. >> we're trying to have some
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capability to do things like take stored images of photographs, video, other things that we can actually collect after the storm passeses; but right now we couldn't do live monitoring. >> reporter: the main concern in evacuating the site is safety. today accusations that safety may not have always been the top priority at this well. >> from day one he deemed this hole a well from hell. >> reporter: in louisiana today, the widow of a rig worker testified about the day the deep water horizon exploded. her husband worked for transocean, the company that owned the rig. >> we had many conversations about the pressure on the rig and the mud they were losing. i think he knew then he was going back to problems. >> reporter: a report obtained by the "new york times" seems to back that up. in it, many workers expressed concern about the rig's safety. one worker described a culture of run it, break it, fix it. another report obtained by the paper said 26 components on the rig were be n bad or poor
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condition. those reports were drawn up just weeks before the rig exploded. a transocean spokesperson told the paper that most of the problems on the ship were minor and it ran for seven years straight without a problem. katie? >> couric: and kelly, we have a question for you from a viewer tonight. >> reporter: well, b.p. feels fairly confident that they can pick up where they left off. the real issue is the loss of time, up to two weeks if they actually have to evacuate. the other issue out there, though, is really picking up that oil that's already in the gulf. the skimming, the burning doesn't work in high seas and the good news is those high seas do help a little bit, they help to break up some of that oil. katie? >> couric: all right, kelly cobiella. kelly, thanks very much. meanwhile, a senate committee is investigating whether b.p. played a role in scotland's decision to release the lockerbie bomber last year.
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today, scottish ministers turned down a request to testify before the committee and b.p. says c.e.o. tony hayward has not yet decided whether he'll appear. now to the storm that erupted in washington after the agriculture department fired shirley sherrod in a rush to judgment. she accepted an apology from the white house yesterday but said she wanted to talk to the president. and today he called her. chip reid is our chief white house correspondent and, chip, another day; another apology. >> reporter: that's right, katie. the apologies just keep coming. yesterday it was robert gibbs and the agriculture secretary, today the president himself. >> reporter: the president has avoided public comment on the firing of shirley sherrod. >> thank you. >> reporter: but today from his private study he joined the chorus of administration officials offering her an apology. >> she did accept his apology. >> reporter: the white house says it took the president three tries over two days to reach her. she called it a very good
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conversation. >> he wanted me to know he's supportive and... i've been dealing with some of the same issues he's had to deal with. >> reporter: sherrod was fired monday after a conservative web site released portions of a speech she gave earlier this year. she appeared to say that years ago she was reluctant to help a struggling farmer because he was white. but the full speech shows she was describing the need for racial reconciliation. >> the president said i think there's an opportunity for you to continue that work if you want to do so. >> reporter: sherrod says she hadn't decided if she'll accept that offer. there may be good reason for the president's public silence. the last time he stepped into a race controversy was a year ago today when he criticized the arrest of his friend, professor henry louis gates >> the cambridge police acted stupidly. >> reporter: and remember that led to a week-long media firestorm and culminated in the so-called beer summit at the white house.
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certainly president would like to avoid that kind of circus this time around. katie? >> couric: chip reid at the white house. chip, thank you. the sherrod case has put a spotlight on the u.s.d.a.'s long history of discrimination against black farmers. more about that now from national correspondent dean reynolds. >> reporter: willie adams '60-acre georgia farm has been in his family since 1938 and he wants to hold on to its red clay and green pastures for generations to come. but the fight to keep it is increasingly stressful. >> high blood pressure, almost a heart attack. (laughs) oh, yeah. a lot of stress. >> reporter: adams is one of a dwindling number of african american farmers, some 33,000 in all. >> we want equal justice! >> reporter: they're hoping congress will at last end decades of discrimination against them and appropriate the $1.25 billion they and their an ancestors won in a settlement with the department of agriculture in february. a court found the farmers had
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been systematically denied aid solely because they were black. loans, grants, and subsidies that white farmers received. willie adams says u.s.d.a. officials always claimed to him and other blacks that they lacked the funding. but you saw that they did have funds available for other people. >> yes. >> reporter: agriculture secretary tom vilsack says those days must end. >> i made it as a goal when i took this office that we would try to reverse that history. >> reporter: as for the settlement compensation, congress has yet to approve it and even if it does... >> it would be a very bittersweet victory for us because i've seen so many black farmers pass waiting for justice. >> reporter: willie adams is waiting, too. mr. adams has wanted to expand his business for years, to build a new greenhouse or to buy up new livestock for his farm. today he's raising collard greens, squash and okra, but he says the farm's been starved
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without the government assistance other farmers take for granted. >> trying to save the land, that's the main thing, saving the homeland. >> reporter: he wonders why shirley sherrod was fired hours after that misleading tape surfaced but other department officials were not fired for years of discrimination, raising doubts about the government's commitment to close what it calls an unfortunate chapter. dean reynolds, cbs news, greensboro, georgia. >> couric: in washington, after a long investigation, the house ethics committee today charged congressman charles rangel with a variety of ethics violations. and another house panel will now put him on trial. if convicted, the new york democrat, who was forced to give up the chairmanship of the ways and means committee, could be censured or expelled. now the battle over arizona's new immigration law. justice department lawyers asked a federal judge in phoenix today to block it before it takes effect next thursday. some proponents of the law say illegal immigration leads to more crime. but does it? bill whitaker takes a closer
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look. >> reporter: pima county, arizona. sheriffs deputies on patrol for people crossing the border illegally from mexico. >> we are encountering folks who have warrants out for their arrest, deported felons and things like that. >> reporter: it's a fact of life here that frightens and infuriates many arizonans. >> i've had illegals knocking on my front door, i've had drug runners in my backyard. >> you get jumpy when you hear your dogs start barking at night. >> reporter: supporters of the new law point to the recent murder of rancher robert krentz. investigators say his killers snuck in from mexico. arizona governor jan brewer says drug cartel style i have lens is crossing the border, too. >> our law enforcement agencies have found bodies in the desert either buried or just lying out there that have been beheaded. >> reporter: in pima county, the sheriff of 30 years says not only is there no evidence of beheadings, but... >> the boarder is more secure now than it's ever been. >> reporter: murder? burglaries, rape?
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the major crimes? up or down on the border? >> they're down. >> reporter: down? >> violence in the cities is down. >> reporter: according to the f.b.i., that's true across the southern board they are decade. in san diego, violent crime is down 17%. in phoenix, down 10%. el paso, texas is one of the safest cities in the u.s., violent crime down 36%. and it sits right across from juarez, mexico, one of the deadliest cities on earth. west along the boarder in nogales, arizona... >> this is a very safe environment. >> reporter: chris ciruli, a third generation produce distributor says it's as safe as 20 years ago. one stphr-pb. >> we're definitely seeing more border patrol over the last few years. >> reporter: border patrol chief victor manjarrez is in charge of the 262 mile stew on the sector that covers know gal las, 3300 agents pro today, up from 1500 a decade ago. when it comes to crime does the
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rhetoric match the reality? >> no. >> reporter: no one is down playing the magnitude of the problem here. these officers say thousands of immigrants and drug smugglers cross the border illegally into arizona everyday and they commit a disproportionate amount of crime. just 7% of arizona's population illegal immigrants are 15% of state inmates. they are 14% of all inmates jailed for manslaughter and murder. 24% of inmates jailed on drug charges. troubling to many arizonans, even if the overall crime rate is down. >> why is it that a little crime is stock? a few homicides are okay? a few home invasions are okay? that we really shouldn't be doing anything about that? we have bigger things to worry about? how outrageous. >> reporter: protestors for and against the law are here outside court. inside court today, the judge said she is skeptical the law is constitutional. she's expected to rule within days. katie? >> couric: bill whitaker, bill, thanks very much for that report. back to washington where president obama today signed the
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extension of benefit to the long-term unemployed. it restores jobless benefits for 2.5 million americans and the first checks could go out next week. and still ahead here on the "cbs evening news," we told you about it last night. tonight, the dramatic video of that close encounter with a whale. but up next, china's auto industry has its eye on america. to my grandkids, i'm nana. i'm friend, secret-keeper, and playmate. do you think i'd let osteoporosis slow me down? so i asked my doctor about reclast because i heard it's the only once-a-year iv osteoporosis treatment. he told me all about it and i said that's the one for nana. he said reclast can help restrengthen my bones to help make them resistant to fracture for twelve months. and reclast is approved to help protect from fracture
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join us at projectfairbanks.com. >> couric: in it long ride on the comeback trail, general motors stopped today to make a purchase. it paid $3.5 billion for amir credit, a company that makes car loans to people with poor credit. it's risky, but it's one way g.m. is trying to boost sales here in the u.s. meanwhile, it's doing a booming business in china. in fact, sales so far this year are up 49%, well over a million vehicles. but celia hatton in beijing tells us g.m. is facing growing competition now from chinese car makers. >> reporter: with games like geely, cherry, b.y.d., you might not know they're some of china's top automotive companies, but detroit certainly does. >> these are companies that no one heard of ten years ago that today are getting a lot of international attention. >> reporter: the chinese market is a bright spot on the
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balance sheets of u.s. auto makers. they're buying american as both a government investment and a status symbol. for the first time ever, g.m. has sold more cars in china than in the u.s. during the first half of this year, more than 1.2 million cars rolled off g.m. lots in china versus less than 1.1 million in the united states but future demand in untapped markets has foreign and chinese entrepreneurs seeing dollar signs. 64 million vehicles crowded china's streets last year. 200 million cars will jam on to those roads by 2020. so to meet that demand, domestic companies are embracing the communist government's push for leaner, greener vehicles. they're fast-tracking r&d and low-cost electric and hybrid motors in hopes of erasing their past reputation for simply copying american models. take geely, one of the biggest car makers here. it snapped up volvo from ford for an estimated $1.8 billion
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while also unveiling 39 of its own car models at the beijing autoshow, including the world's cheapest car, the i.g., with roof top solar panels and a $2,300 price tag. as these companies grow, their appetites are going global. geely's rival cherry already exports cars to south area, africa and eastern europe and someday the united states explains c.e.o.ing yin tongyao. "the american consumer knows cars very well. i dare not send our cars to the u.s. market before we're really ready." other chinese automakers think they are ready. a dozen years ago b.y.d.-- or build your dreams-- manufactured phone batteries. this year it beat g.m. and toyota to sell the world's first mass-produced electric car. just over 50 of these electric taxicabs are roaming the streets of southern china, but soon-- perhaps later this year-- the same car will go on sale in the united states.
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brought to the u.s. by china's ambitions and american dollars. (speaking mandarin) u.s. billionaire warren buffett raised eyebrows when he invested $230 million in b.y.d . it's starting to look like a smart move. and if chinese car companies succeed in making their cars as good as their dreams, the world's next generation of speed demons might grow up thinking the only cool cars to buy are those made in china. celia hatton, cbs news, beijing. these nutrients help support energy and immunity. science gives you more reason to trust centrum. introducing total plus omega-3 honey almond flax cereal. all the nutrition of total, plus 10% daily value omega-3 ala, and a delicious honey almond crunch. new total plus omega-3.
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>> couric: we told you last night about a terrifying end to a whale watching trip and showed you picture of that 40 ton whale about to slam into a yacht off south africa. well, today we have the video. a boater captured the scary moments as the southern right whale leapt from the water and crashed on to the boat. the two people on board were not hurt but the yacht was seriously damaged. the mast snapped in half. last night we said it was unclear why this happened. today a south african newspaper reports the couple on the yacht is being investigated for possibly harassing the whale by getting too close to it. chelsea clinton's wedding to investment banker marc mezvinsky is a week from saturday. the mother of the bride, secretary of state hillary clinton, is on a four-nation tour of asia. today officials in vietnam gave her a couple of gifts, a white table cloth for chelsea and, for
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the secretary, a portrait of her and chelsea carved out of rubies, sapphires, and other precious stones. but because of the portrait's high value, ethics rules probably won't allow her to keep it. and coming up next, attitude check. is america happy or grumpy? scientists say the answer is in the tweets. ever seen anything like it? me neither. it's new beneful incredibites. uh-huh! it's just the way you like it-- made with wholesome grains, real beef, even carrots and peas. you love the smaller-size, easy-to-chew kibbles, and i love the carbohydrates for energy and protein for muscles. whoa! wait for me! ha-ha. you only think you're getting spoiled. [ woman announcing ] new beneful incredibites. another healthful, flavorful beneful.
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[ female announcer ] why wait? i'm from the gulf coast. my family spends a lot of time here. i have a personal interest in ensuring that we get this job done right. i'm keith seilhan. i'm in charge of bp's clean up on the gulf coast. bp's taken full responsibility for the clean up, and that includes keeping you informed. over 25,000 people are included in the clean up operation. our crews are cleaning the gulf beaches 24/7. we're going to be here as long as it takes to make this right. [ man thinking ] i'm so stuffed with gas. ohh, noo, not that! not, not here! [ male announcer ] prevent uncomfortable gas moments with gas-x prevention. just one before meals helps prevent gas before it starts. from gas-x, the gas-xperts. i switched to a complete multivitamin with more. only one a day men's 50+ advantage... has gingko for memory and concentration. plus support for heart health. ( crowd roars ) that's a great call. one a day men's.
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>> couric: and finally tonight, remember those mood rings? i do. the color of the stone would change depending on your mood. so 1970s. but it's 2010 now and richard schlesinger tells us scientists say they can actually measure the mood of the entire nation through twitter. >> reporter: this is your country. s your country on twitter, a minute-by-minute, color-coded pulsating "chronicle" of the country's mood based on words used in tweets, those quick electronic messages. red states are mad, the tan and green states are happy. we feel pretty good early the day, get mad later and happy again before bedtime. how many tweets did you study? >> about 300 million.
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>> reporter: 300 million? >> that's actually a very small number. >> reporter: oh. he programmed his computers to look for happy words or sad words in tweets. words like "diamond, love" and "paradise" were considered happy. "funeral, rape and suicide" not so happy. we use the happiest words on sundays and get sadder as the week rolls on. tell me, where are we the happiest? where are we the saddest? >> so i can tell you that the happiest state consistently is hawaii. >> reporter: well, you don't need 300 million tweets to tell you that. in fact, most of the western u.s. is apparently happy. >> a little sun might do that to you. (laughs) a little sun, walking on the beach. >> reporter: i'm in new york. how happy should i be? >> i would stay whole east coast seems pretty grumpy. >> reporter: you're breaking my heart. i was in a pretty good mood until you told me that. >> >> (laughs) yeah. that's how it goes. >> reporter: truth is, in new york it wasn't hard to find grumpy people.
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>> if you get in the way of what we want, we let you know it. >> reporter: so is this science? can you really gauge the mood of a nation by tweets? maybe not yet. but lehman hopes soon we will. >> i think potentially this could be a very valuable tool. >> reporter: encouraging news on the most discouraging day. according to lehman's calculations, the grumpiest time of the week is right now, thursday evening. so how do you feel? i'm fine. i thought. richard schlesinger, cbs news, new york. >> couric: and if the mood strikes you, you can follow me on twitter. my handle is jacket. ... kwraeubgt. that's the "cbs evening news" for tonight. i'm happy you watched me. see you tomorrow. good night. those people are happy 'cause they're gonna have a good time, and they've got extra money in their pocket. those are happy passengers.
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how much does it cost for those snacks again? nothing. at southwest airlines, when we have a sale, it's a sale. [ male announcer ] southwest airlines has flights starting at $49 one-way. book now only at southwest.com. [ rand ] how can you not want to get on the plane? come on and get on the plane. we're saving you money. now that's a plane full of happy. [ employees ] grab your bag. it's on. [ ding ]
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did mel admit assaulting oksana. >> is mel apologizing to oksana after allegedly punching her in the face? >> she could have fallen down. >> he said, i wasn't safe for you last night. >> by her vie, i wasn't safe to be around. >> plus, new video just in. is there evidence she was trying to get millions out of mel? >> in tonight's "e.t." slide show, robert pat
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